February 28, 2011

The Color Block Dress

It seems a bit silly to be making a summer dress when we have woken up to frost everyday this week, but I am starting to get antsy for a little bit warmer weather.

I've been thinking about the idea for this dress for awhile now, but just got around to actually making it happen. I am thrilled with the final product and it couldn't have been easier.

Do you want to make one? Here's how I did it: 
These measurements make a size 12 months. Luckily that gives Audrey plenty of room to grow into it.

I started with a white tank top from Goodwill (which turned into a very light blueish/green tank top after I wasn't thinking and put it in the wash with my other fabrics...oops) and cut off the bottom 5 inches. Cut 4 strips of the two top colors (for me it was the gray and blue), 2 of each color, measuring 14"x3.5" each and 2 strips of the bottom color (green for me) measuring 14"x4.5".

Sew the three pieces of colored fabric together, so you make two panels. I used a serger which made working with the knits very easy. And make sure to iron down the seams. 
Then sew the two panels together, right sides together, to make one big tube. 
Next, cut and sew the elastic to the size you want it, generally waist size plus 1". Sew a long stitch around the bottom of the tank top and gather it until it is the same size as the elastic. Pin it to the inside of the elastic and sew.

Now do the same thing with the top of the skirt part. Sew a long stitch around the top of the skirt and gather until it is the same size as the elastic. Pin it to the inside of the elastic and sew.

Now you just have to hem the bottom and you are done. I actually haven't hemmed the bottom of mine. I am so happy with how it has turned out so far I don't want to ruin it and have it pucker using my machine so I am going to wait until I can use my mom's walking foot. Lucky for me knits don't fray, so until then, Audrey can still wear it (if the weather is ever warm enough).

{She thought the hanger was the best part of the whole day}

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February 22, 2011


I've got nothing.

No pictures.

No finished projects.

Not even any progress to show.


I am working really hard on the Simplicity busy book pattern for Little Miss A. Patterns are just not my thing. I am realizing just how much I have to learn about sewing. I've told myself no more internet-ing until I get at least half of it done... ha, that didn't even last a day. We'll see how tomorrow goes.

p.s. You need to make this Steak Sandwich with Brie. Make it for dinner or lunch or an afternoon snack, really it doesn't matter when, it is just important that you make it. We had it for dinner tonight... OMG is it a good sandwich. Plus, if you pair it with a salad of Boston lettuce with homemade blue cheese dressing you might just make one of the best dinners ever!

February 17, 2011

I Am Grateful

This is not what I planned on posting today, but the crafting just didn't get done this week.

Despite all of Audrey's amazing qualities, she has never been a good sleeper. Every once in awhile there will be a really good night or week, but overall she kind of stinks at the whole sleeping thing. This week has been one of those weeks that makes us want to pull our hair out, plus her naps have kind of gone out the window. So instead of feeling sorry for myself or letting myself get frustrated I decided I needed a little reminder of how much I have to be thankful for because it is a lot.

Here are just a few things I am grateful for today...

 For this space, it is my retreat

And for my garden

 And for this park

But mostly and more importantly
For these people, plus my mom

And these people

And especially 
For these two, who mean everything to me

What are you grateful for today?

February 14, 2011

Braised Short Rib Pasta

This has got to be one of my all time favorite dinners. I make it any chance I get and it is my go to dish when I am bringing dinner to a friend. Just looking at the pictures makes me want to have it for dinner again tonight. Although it takes some time to cook, the actual prep time is pretty short. If I remember right the original recipe was from Giada De Laurentiis, but I have made a few changes. Here is my version. 

Braised Short Rib Pasta
2 lbs beef short ribs
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1 large onion
5 cloves garlic, chopped
5 Roma tomatoes, cut into eighths
1 cup red wine
1/2 cup brewed coffee
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 pound penne or rigatoni pasta
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
chopped flat leaf parsley or basil to garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

Season the ribs with salt and pepper. In a large heavy-bottomed dutch oven heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the ribs and brown on all sides. Remove the ribs and set aside. 
Add the onion and garlic and cook until tender, 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently. 
Add the tomatoes, wine, coffee, and mustard. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring to scrape all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. 
Return the ribs to the pan and add the beef broth. Cover the pan and place in the oven for 2.5 hours, until the meat is tender and falling off the bone. 

Remove the meat from the cooking liquid. With a large spoon skim off any excess fat from the top of the cooking liquid. Using an immersion blender puree until smooth. Add the tomato paste stirring well. Season with salt and pepper. 

Remove the meat from the bones, shred into small pieces using two forks. Return the shredded meat to the sauce. Let simmer until thickened, 30-45 minutes. 
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Combine the sauce and pasta. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and fresh herbs. Serve and enjoy! 

February 8, 2011

Patience is a Virtue

I remember my fourth grade teacher reciting this little poem one day in class...

Patience is a virtue
keep it if you can. 
It's given to a woman
and not to a man. 

Now, I'm not sure how appropriate or relevant it is to a fourth grade education, but other than ROY G BIV it is one of the few things I actually remember from fourth grade.

My winter garden has taken more than a little bit of patience. Bryce can vouch that on more than one occasion I was ready to pull everything out. The other day when I went to see if anything was ever going to happen, I was pleasantly surprised to finally find a little bit of progress.

That would be the world's smallest head of cauliflower. Hopefully with a little more patience it will grow into more than a cute little bite-sized vegetable.

February 7, 2011

Pretty Potholder

This month over on Prudent Baby they are hosting a contest for pretty potholders and giving away TWO sewing machines. Now, I don't have high hopes of creating one of the winning potholders, but making one sounded like fun. Here is what I came up with.

I am in love with the ruffles and now plan to put ruffles on everything I make. But, oh, the trouble I had with that bias tape! I don't know what my issue was. It didn't want to cooperate... at all. I'm half tempted to tear it all out and try again. We'll see how motivated I get. I still want to finish a second potholder in order to have a matching set.

February 4, 2011


A couple of years ago Bryce gave me the best anniversary gift. ever. A lemon tree and a lime tree. The lime tree has been producing a very small crop since we got it, but we have never gotten anything from the lemon tree. That is why I am so excited about this...
That is a lemon on OUR lemon tree. It still needs a little longer to be ready to pick, but I am already trying to decide what I will do with it. Lucky for me, it is one of several that are on the tree.

February 3, 2011

Little A's New Sweatshirt

I'm working on making myself a new top, something I've never done. And because my favorite outfit is jeans and a sweatshirt it is being made out of sweatshirt fleece. I've been having fun working on the pattern and made a first attempt the other day. Surprisingly, it worked out pretty good, but had some major malfunctions that in order to fix I would have had to magically make the material grow and stretch... sadly, I just don't know how to do that. But I couldn't bear to waste the fabric so I decided to turn it into a sweatshirt for Audrey.

It was so fun to make. I've decided making anything in tiny size is much more fun than adult size. I obviously had some issues with the neck collar laying flat, but I think I've figured out how to fix it on my next one. Also, I only wanted to use materials I had, so the color combination isn't my absolute favorite, but I think it works. 

Here she is modeling it at the park. Sorry the last picture is a little blurry, but she is just so cute!

I'm thinking maybe a pattern and a tutorial? What do you think?

I'm linking to some of these fun link parties